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By Bira

What’s the future of retail, today, tomorrow and thereafter?

The retail environment never sits still.

The needs and demands of customers are changing faster than ever before. This raises plenty of questions for independent retailers including:

  • How do independent retailers survive the shopping revolution?
  • Alibaba and Amazon, threat or opportunity for retailers?
  • How can David beat Goliath in retail?
  • How can smaller operators compete? However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are opportunities out there for those who embrace change.


In a recent study by The Telegraph, David Scott, head of retail and leisure at NatWest, commented: “The industry is being affected by multiple factors, but one of the most significant is without doubt the pace of changing consumer behaviour.

“Our recent Outlook for Retail 2018 report explored the key issues facing the sector, and despite the tough conditions, we continue to see plenty of examples of retailers who are making the most of the difficult situation. Those who adapt to customers’ evolving needs and demands around technology and service will be the ones to thrive.”

Despite the tough conditions, a government-backed study conducted by market research firm 3Gem on behalf of Visa found that more than half of independent retailers hold a positive view on the future. Of the 750 independent retailers polled, some 40.7% of independent retailers describe themselves as “optimistic” about the future of their local high street, while 12.3% are “very optimistic” about it.

The study, which also polled 2,000 members of the public, found that four out of five shoppers would miss the high street if it wasn’t there.

It’s also worth noting that while online sales are growing,  according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Retail Sales Index, online sales account for only 17% of all retail sales in the UK. There is still life in the high street.

If you want to learn how to position your business for success, then join Mike Parkes and Dr Jonathan Reynolds at the OSS Masters at Said Business School on 25 – 28 February 2019. bira members receive an exclusive 25% discount on the joining fee. Please contact the OSS Retail office on 0121 446 66 88 or via for details.

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